About 150 people, Tuesday, attended the memorial vigil of slain nursing student Michelle Le at Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, where Le had studied an intensive one-year nursing program, paying tribute to the 26-year-old girl.
Le's family, friends and instructors recalled Le's short life on the earth, memorializing her as an ambitious but joyful, thoughtful and organized young woman.
Krystine Dinh, Le's cousin who regards Le as her best friend and her role model, shared the several episodes of the life they grew up together, e.g., Le bought for her first razor and make-up foundation, taught her how to drive and got their first job together at Rubio's. Dinh said she will cherish the memories.
Facing the tragedy, Dinh is obviously grieved. Words will never explain how much I miss her and the pain will sit like a rock in my stomach, she said. Michelle will never be a mom, she will never be a nurse, she will never see her future. However, her memory and her name will see the future and will continue to be honored.
Michael, Le's younger brother who also lost his mother, said he had to figure out what is life without his mother and sister.
Someday, I will be reunited with my mom and Michelle but [until then] I need to live a life that would make them both proud of me, he said.
Dinh and Michael express their appreciation for the people who had helped to search Michelle around southern Alameda County , including police and investigators, university faculty and staff, and the numerous volunteers.
Sharon Diaz, Samuel Merritt University President, announced that the university will set up a scholarship to honor Le, whom she called as the quintessential professional, and then some.
She was like a sponge, soaking things up, an assistant professor at Samuel Merritt Laurie Rosa said. She couldn't get enough of learning to be a nurse. I'd have to drag her out of her patient's room to do the documentation for the night.
Some Le's sorority sisters from San Francisco State University recalled her unique attributes-- the most organized person we met, which makes Le serve as their treasurer and gains the her the nickname P's and Q's.
Continuous sobs echoed through the crowd when people made testimony for the 26-year-old life.
Giselle Esteban, an ex-friend of Le, was arrested on Sept. 7 on suspicion of murdering Le. Le and Esteban were friends in the high school. However, their relationship soured afterwards because of a love triangle.
From the footage of security cameras at the Kaiser Permanente parking structure that Esteban was present around the time of Le’s disappearance. Furthermore, the DNA evidence and cellphone records tied Esteban to Le’s death, authorities said.
Esteban is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail. Now she is pregnant for seven months.
But for the Esteban, Dinh said what she had learned from Le is that you have to move forward with grace and you have to forgive. You can't fight ugliness with ugliness.